A plant swap group is growing increasingly popular.

Retired Northumberland doctor, Kevin Smith, who is running as the Lib Dem candidate for the Bellingham ward in the upcoming local elections, started the Facebook group ‘Plant Swap Bellingham’ in November.

It currently has more than 100 members, serving the wider Bellingham area including Otterburn, Rochester, Corsenside, Kirkwhelpington, Tarset, Falstone and Kielder.

The aim of the group is to help both new and experienced gardeners to reduce plant miles and find hardy local plants that "won’t cost the earth and won’t burn the pocket", Kevin said.

Swaps include vegetables, flowers, pot plants and trees.

Kevin said: “I took inspiration from plant swap stalls that Transition Tynedale used to hold and from the group ‘Plant Swap Hexham’ which my fellow Transition Tynedale volunteer Pixie Jewels, of Hexham bakery ‘The Grateful Bread’, runs in Hexham.

“Covid travel restrictions and the need to reduce carbon footprints make having more local groups important.”

He added: “There really are many positive groups that foster community spirit and reflect the warmth and generosity of the Northumbrian population.”

Of the plant groups, Pixie said: “The groups are lovely, inclusive, supportive, and friendly spaces.”

Plant Swap Bellingham can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/1029464037527993

Plant Swap Hexham can be found at facebook.com/groups/537051783358101